I read Faithless as part of my SPFBO reading list and I absolutely adored it, so I’ve picked up some other Graham Austin King stuff looking for some more awesomeness!
The plot is sort of slow going at first, it’s introducing a fair amount of characters and plotlines that start intersecting about halfway through, and by the end, it’s all together.
Miriam and her son are living with a drunk as a father, basically just enduring every day as best they can. Eventually, things come to a head when Miriam fights back and runs with her son, Devin. They intended to get to Miriam’s father’s house, but they were attacked by bandits and got lost in the woods. Miriam was injured and went into this weird trance-like thing where she danced around and sang weird poems, which summoned a Fae. The Fae take his mother and leaves him in the woods by himself. Some villagers find him and take him in, treating them like one of their own. Years later, the Fae and other mythical creatures/demon like things come and visit some of Devin’s new family members – beyond that it gets spoilery.
Kloss is part of another culture apart from Devin, he’s on an island whose population is maid of raiders and reavers – think Ironborn from ASOIAF. He’s training to be a reaver despite his father’s objections. They are planning on upping their raiding to a full-scale invasion of the mainland, their culture is dying because they are outgrowing their islands. There’s just not enough food or supplies to sustain a growing population, so the plan is to take over the shores – which is where Devin lives.
Selena is a queen who’s married to a drunk who wants nothing to do with her, she’s been running the country for the last few years as her husband has slipped further and further into alcoholism. She’s dealing with reports coming in from all over her country that the raiders, (Kloss and Co) are laying waste to a bunch of villages. Her husband then dies via choking on his own vomit, and she has to figure out how to keep ruling since the law of the land is that without an heir the crown would pass to the next male heir. But, none of his family members are competent, and changing regimes mid-war could lead to disaster, she’s plotting to keep control and defend her country.
All the while, the Wyrde is breaking… the force that holds the Fae and demons at bay, and it could make the raiders look like no big deal.
Final Score: 8.5/10
Devin – the book starts when he’s 10 years old, and he’s 17 by the time it’s over. He’s a pretty typical kid, likeable character.
Selena – she’s determined and forceful, she’s not supposed to be ruling the country but she’s taken matters into her own hands.
Kloss – he’s resentful that his father is a merchant, in a society that views them as little more than thieves, he’s determined to make something of himself.
Forstbeard – Kloss’s uncle and a famed raider, the mastermind behind the invasion to the shores
Hannah – Devin’s adopted mother, she’s been visited by Fae and demons but no one believes her, her once happy marriage is being tried by her claims that her experiences aren’t dreams.
Korrin – Devin’s adopted father, a good person who treats Devin like one of his own, traditional family man providing for his wife and kids.
Obare – an old man who’s been maintaining the Wyrde, which is the dam that holds back the Fae. After he was attacked, his grip on the Wyrde slipped, and the world is left defenceless.
Final Score: 7/10
There are lots of old nursery rhymes that hint at the Fae and their monstrosity – but there’s a new religion that’s formed within the last decade that’s fighting the “old ways” called “New Dayers”. They are telling people to take down their horseshoes over their barns and to stop their pagan rituals – which is helping disarm the citizens against the Fae. It’s not some evil plot by the New Dayers, they don’t know what they’re doing is handing over the world to the Fae.
The Fae have golden amber eyes with no white or pupils, they are evil as shit and seem to love torturing – no one is spared when they come. They are also susceptible to iron, scorching their skin and revealing them for what they really are.
Satyrs are demon like things that can take human form and seduce women, it’s sort of like a succubus, they are horned devil like things in their true form, but can make themselves appear as extremely attractive men.
The Bjornmenn are a society that lives on islands and don’t have much room for expansion, they rely on raiding the villages on the shoreline of the mainland to make up for what they can’t produce on their own. They are a hard race, and one of the only that have the technology to build ships that can break through ice. They rely on the fact that no one can follow them home as protection.
The Druids were a race that helped keep the Wyrde together but were driven off almost to extinction. They wanted to be left alone, so they spread rumors that they sacrifice virgins on stone pillars and other horrible things to keep people from trying to find them.
Final Score: 8/10
This is sort of a darker book by the end, but in the beginning, it was a lot of world building and set up. It took a little while for all of the plotlines to come together. It wasn’t until about halfway through that the stories really started to intersect and you could see where everything was going. Once it hit the last third of the book things got real and I flew through the end.
The writing was well done, as it was in Faithless – flowed nicely and kept things moving.
Pacing Final Score: 7/10
Writing Final Score: 8.5/10
I loved how Fae in this world aren’t glittery friends, I’ve read so many of those books it’s nice to get a different take on fairies. Although I’ve seen a lot of ‘demons/fairies/elves’ coming back into the world kind of thing, there was def enough originality going on to keep my attention.
Final Score: 8/10
- For people who like multi pov
- For people who like fae/demons/fairies
- For people who like mysterious “magic”
- For people who like lower-key magic, there wasn’t a lot of wizardy or anything like that
- For people who like female pov
- For people who like raiders/warriors/sailors
Final Score: 47/60 or 7.83/10